Laboratory experiments for inter-comparison of three volume scattering meters to measure angular scattering properties of hydrosols


Measurements of the volume scattering function (VSF) of hydrosols is of primary importance to investigate the interaction of light with hydrosols and to further interpret in situ and remote sensing data of ocean color. In this paper, a laboratory inter-comparison experiment of three recently developed VSF meters that are able to measure the scattered light for a wide range of scattering angle at 515 nm wavelength is performed using phytoplankton cultures and mineral-like hydrosols. A rigorous measurement protocol was employed to ensure good quality data. In particular, the protocol enabled removing the influence of bacteria on the hydrosols within the sample. The differences in the VSF measurements between the instruments vary from 10 to 25% depending on the composition of the hydrosols. The analysis of the angular features of the VSF revealed a sharp increase of the VSF beyond the scattering angle of 150° for some phytoplankton species. Such behavior is observed for two of the three VSF meters, thus suggesting that it is not due to instrumental artifacts but more likely to phytoplankton optical properties themselves. Moreover, comparisons with currently used theoretical phase functions show that the models are not able to reproduce satisfactorily the directional patterns in the backscattering region. This study suggests that a better modelling of the VSF shape of phytoplankton at high scattering angles is required to correctly represent the angular shape of the VSF in the backscattering hemisphere. Tabulated values of the measured phase functions are provided for scattering angles from 0.1 to 175°.
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